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Cafe worker in her early thirties dies with Covid-19 in NI

Nobel Cafe said Andrea Maftei was a ‘loyal friend’ and her colleagues had been left heartbroken.

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The daily average of new diagnoses has increased since last month (Michael Cooper/PA)

The daily average of new diagnoses has increased since last month (Michael Cooper/PA)

The daily average of new diagnoses has increased since last month (Michael Cooper/PA)

A cafe worker aged 32 has died with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

Andrea Maftei was originally from Romania, but worked in Ballymena, Co Antrim, for more than a decade.

In a statement, Nobel Cafe said her colleagues were astounded and heart-broken.

Unfortunately, Andrea has been taken from us under horrendous circumstancesNobel Cafe

“Andrea worked with us for twelve fantastic years, not only was she a trusted employee but a very loyal friend.”

Hers was the first death to be confirmed by Stormont’s health department for four days.

The vast majority of fatalities are among the older population.

Nobel Cafe said environmental health, the Public Health Agency and contact tracing bodies had concluded that the illness was contracted through a community-based outbreak and not through its food premises.

It added in an online post: “Unfortunately, Andrea has been taken from us under horrendous circumstances.”

Her death brings the toll to 558.

The cafe said: “The friends and family at Nobel Cafe are well and truly devastated at the passing of our dear friend and colleague Andrea Maftei.

“Our hearts go out to Andrea’s loving husband Ovidiu, her parents, grandparents and family circle.”

Health authorities have been warning of the risk posed by the virus as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Health minister Robin Swann said: “This upsetting news serves as a stark reminder that this virus has not gone away.”

An additional 74 people have tested positive across Northern Ireland, the department said on Friday.

The total number of confirmed cases is 6,299.

One Covid-19 patient is being ventilated in intensive care in hospital in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health update said.

A total of eight hospital beds are occupied by people with the disease.

Three outbreaks of the illness in care homes have been recorded and five are suspected.

Four coronavirus-linked deaths occurred in Northern Ireland in the latest week subjected to statistical analysis, unrelated figures showed.

The fatalities in the period August 1 to August 7 took the total recorded by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) to 859.

The Nisra data gives a fuller picture of Covid-19 fatalities than the daily figures released by the department, which focus primarily on hospital deaths and only include people who have tested positive for the virus.

Nisra obtains its statistics using death certificates in which Covid-19 is recorded as a factor by a medical professional, regardless of where the fatality occurred. The person may or may not have tested positive for the virus.

This month Mr Swann said some people had stopped following basic guidance to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The daily average of new diagnoses has increased since last month.

Mr Swann has expressed concern about complacency as many lockdown measures are eased.

He said: “The weather has been very kind this week and with good weather comes more people out and about, on our streets, in our shops and on our beaches.

“We continue to see increasing numbers of positive cases across Northern Ireland and whilst that is not unexpected, the number of close contacts linked to positive cases has more than doubled since July.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

“This rise may be attributed to the easing of lockdown measures, but may also be explained by relaxing of attitudes to social distancing.

“We cannot become complacent because this virus continues to circulate and sadly continues to have devastating consequences for families.”

The rolling average of positive tests has risen this month to levels comparable to early summer, according to data published by the department.

Mr Swann added that Friday’s “upsetting” news served as a stark reminder that this virus has not gone away.

“I implore everyone to stick with it. Keep your distance, wash your hands, wear your mask and do not let this virus take a hold in our society.

“These measures, while simplistic, are essential to winning the battle.”

PA